Usually I am quite modest about all the awards (two) I have received professionally. Recently, however, I was given an honor that is long overdue. I was made an honorary celebrity FRUMP (Frugal, Responsible, Unpretentious, Mature People). Keeping me illustrious company are first lady Barbara Bush, Willard Scott, Roseanne Barr and Andy Rooney.

The founding mother of FRUMP is "Auntie" Barbara Hovanetz of Winter Park, Fla., who also edits the monthly newsletter. ("It's fall . . . the start of the annual Purge Your Expired Coupons Season!")There are 2,000 card-carrying FRUMPS out there - women who wear polyester in midsummer, crochet poodles to cover bottles of booze and, in order to prevent the smoke alarm from going off while they're cooking, cover it with a shower cap.

I suspect there are a lot more women who aren't organized enough to know there's an organization organized just for them.

Some of us are destined for lackluster. We go through life carrying the same handbag in winter and summer. We buy a skirt for 50 cents at a garage sale and ask if they do alterations. If we have a season where our slips aren't too long for our dresses, then our coats are too short.

You can dress us up, put us at a head table and make us feel important, but let us sneeze and we quickly unfold from our handbag a half-roll of toilet tissue.

In a country that has a support group for everything, including dogs who have had hysterectomies, it is comforting to know there are other women out there who make dresses from curtain panels and hold bras together with safety pins and fallen hems with staples. Every day I see a world becoming more serious about itself.

Women are driven to "have it all," from bathrooms that sparkle to kids who carry color-coordinated food in their Batman lunch boxes. It's not an invention of the Baby Boomers. We've always been that way. At birth, every baby girl is given a Stepford booster shot. Somewhere between laundering plastic bags and hanging them out to dry and ripping off stamps on envelopes that I never returned, I learned to lighten up. I don't know when the first lady decided to bare her roots or Willard decided to bare his skull, but it has probably made life a lot easier for them. Or as one FRUMP put it, "Don't take life so seriously. You'll never get out alive!"

I don't owe anyone for this award - not my family, my editors or members of the academy. I did it all myself. I thank you for the honor and the white FRUMP T-shirt. Well, it used to be white. It is now pink, but then you probably anticipated that.